Supporting a climate smart and sustainable caribbean tourism industry

The Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project (CSSCTI) seeks to reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of the Caribbean tourism sector to climate variability and climate change and associated impacts, while also contributing to the sustainability and global competitiveness of the Region’s tourism destinations. One of the primary objectives in this regard is to support countries efforts to both mitigate and adapt to climate variability and climate change and transform the region into the world’s first “climate-smart” zone. Project activities are designed to foster the adoption of sustainability practices through education and awareness and provide strategies and tools with recommendations for what needs to be done and how, to enhance preparedness and response to hazard events.

The expected outcome of the project is to improve the capacity of countries to incorporate and mainstream climate considerations in tourism development, policy formulation and business practices. CTO Member Countries and tourism industry stakeholders in the Caribbean will be more equipped to prepare for and recover from the impacts of extreme weather events and other climate related hazards.

Context:

Tourism is an important activity which generates significant employment, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange in the Caribbean. Its multi-sectoral nature makes it highly effective as a tool for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The Caribbean tourism product depends on the natural environment and it is often challenging for countries to maintain an effective balance between tourism development needs and environmental sustainability.

The viability and growth of the tourism industry is also threatened by natural hazards, which are becoming more frequent and severe, as a result of climate variability and climate change.
Against this background, the CTO with cooperation and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is implementing the CSSCTI project, in CTO and CDB’s mutual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries. Funding for the project and related activities is provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) programme which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

Project features

Total cost of the project: 460,173 euro
Implementing Agency: Caribbean Tourism Organization
Benefiting Zone: Members of the CTO – Caribbean Countries
Cooperation and technical assistance: Caribbean Development Bank
Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

Insights of the first event:

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was the first regional activity for the implementation of the CSSCTI project. The Forum was hosted by the CTO in collaboration with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, in December 2017 in Basseterre St. Kitts.

The Forum brought together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies for three days of dynamic and interactive engagements.

It examined climate change adaptation, mitigation, and opportunities for sound management of Caribbean destinations. Key Forum Sessions included: Tourism Resiliency through Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation; Innovative Models & Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; Smart Destinations: Using Climate as an Opportunity; The Tourism Recovery Roundtable; and Roadmap to Disaster Management.

The first two days of activities included presentations by experts showcasing best practices for a climate resilient sustainable tourism industry; the sharing of experiences and benchmark initiatives by country representatives; practical workshops to reinforce lessons learnt; and experiential field visits showcasing key initiatives in St. Kitts.

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was an opportunity to share and exchange best practices, hear and learn from experts and engage in rich dialogue and networking with tourism industry stakeholders, as well as regional and international partners, in seeking to enhance climate resiliency and strengthen disaster risk management strategies in the Caribbean Tourism industry.

“The Caribbean Development Bank has partnered with CTO to help incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction considerations into national and regional tourism policies, plans and operations. While the tourism industry is crucial to the economic growth and development of the Caribbean, one must also recognise that this sector is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. Therefore, it is essential to develop and implement sound initiatives to increase the tourism sector resilience to climate-related risks to ensure its sustainability”.

Dr. Yves Robert Personna Project Manager at the Caribbean Development Bank.

The Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project (CSSCTI). Download the PDF version.